THE STYLE SISTERS: SOPHIE & CHARLOTTE BICKLEY

May 7, 2021

Style and fashion Instagramers may best exemplify today’s prototypical influencers. In the model – and the shadow – of the Kardashians, the style and fashion Instagram-ophere is flooded with those who profess and display nothing more than their own
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style and fashion…and with huge audiences of followers whose consumer behavior and spending is deeply influenced. Style and fashion is presently the lifeblood of Instagram influence.
“We were always into fashion. Even when I was a young kid, I loved taking pictures of my outfits,” Charlotte Bickley, now 27, reminisced about the start of her influencer career. “My senior year of high school, during spring break, I stumbled across Instagram in the App Store. It looked so different than it does now! So I made an account called @chbickley, and kind of started to document my college tour visits, random things with friends, and my dogs…and I’d post pictures of my outfits. By sophomore year at Syracuse I’d reached a few thousand followers and by my senior year – 2016, my account was really beginning to take off. A lot of it probably had to do with the Instagram algorithm favoring me as an early adopter, and also to my extra-loyal ‘Red Men’ followers from ‘Cuse, but I knew I was on to something big.”

“Sophie is two years older than me,” Charlotte continued, “…and had already graduated from Hobart & William Smith, and was working at a job focused on influencers in fashion. I’d interned at Bergdorf Goodman the summer before. We eventually realized we could be doing more in the growing influencer realm and – frankly, without too much definition – we started @Yin2MyYang.”

“We thought the name @Yin2MyYang highlighted how we couldn’t be more different – especially in our sense of style – but how we’re only complete together.” Sophie declares. “We started showing the same outfit styled in two different ways. Or multiple options that showed off each of our unique senses of style. Our distinct contributions formed a harmony. The brand gained traction right away.”

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Charlotte picks up on the story… “About a year into the account, in March 2017, we had this ah-ha moment. I was out of college and working as a buyer at Bergdorfs. ShopBop reached out to see if we wanted to be part of their ‘modern America’ campaign.
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It was meant to be a grassroots campaign. Rather than only showing their stuff on professional models, they wanted normal girls to show off how their lines could be styled and worn. We were paid only $1,000 total, but we were so excited to do it.” And it was at this point that the girls determined to go all-in on @Yin2MyYang. Charlotte and Sophie each quit their day jobs and committed their all to sourcing, styling, creating content, engaging with followers, growing the brand, and running the business of @Yin2MyYang.
“From there, we got really lucky with a lot of our partnerships.” Charlotte simplifies several years of hard work, continuing, “We worked with Bumble for a while, as what they called ‘Queen Bees’, spreading the word about their various dating and networking programs. We got some major shoutouts from big accounts. Danielle Bernstein tagged us a few times, and Arielle Charnas would repost us when we’d post wearing her line. We got to be on the cover of Quest magazine. And we had an amazing partnership with Keds – they sponsored our trip to Coachella in 2018 to post on their behalf… so we styled our looks around their new line of shoes.”
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Charlotte has about 45K followers on her individual account, @chbikcley…and Sophie has almost 20k followers on her separate @sophbicks Instagram account…while @Yin2MyYang has grown to over 105k followers!
And it’s still a full-time job for the sisters. “We feel really fortunate. We’re grateful that we get to work together and do something we love. This comes so naturally to us both, and we get to have a great time,” Sophie says.

It’s not all as effortless as the girls make it look. Although they say the styling part comes naturally, building and maintaining a brand requires real work. The sisters plan long photoshoot days to capture mass amounts of content, and while shopping is a fun hobby for most, it’s a necessary part of the job for Charlotte and Sophie. It also takes significant time and effort to gain and manage partnerships with brands. Charlotte cautions, “Although I post a lot, and about pretty much all aspects of my life, I’m really careful about what I show with my friends and other people in my life. I would never want anyone to feel like their privacy is being invaded. So I’m always trying to read the room to be sensitive to what other people’s comfort level is.” Sophie added… “We really built this from the ground up!”

“WE REALLY BUILT THIS FROM THE GROUND UP!”

Charlotte and Sophie grew up in Bedford and it’s, frankly, an understatement to say ‘they were always into fashion’. Their Dad, Ian Bickley, was the President of Coach International when the girls were in high school and, before retiring, led the acquisition of Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman and the formation of Tapestry Group, where he ran strategic alliances.

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Ian now serves on the board of Crocs and Natura Group (a Brazillian brand that owns Asos and Bath & Body Works, amongst other international brands). Charlotte says, “Coach will always be special to all of us. It’s really where this all began for me and Sophie. We still have great relationships in the company, and are grateful for @Yin2MyYang to coordinate with, and work for, Coach. Of course, we miss the amazing fashion shows they did pre-Covid, and we’re hoping that comes back soon as the world begins to heal!”

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